Home care services get a rough time in the media. The risks of opening up your home to strangers to come in and deliver often very personal care to a vulnerable member of your family are often discussed in newspapers and on TV programmes, and this can create apprehension and concern about the available social care options.
However, at the time of writing there are more than 600,000 home care workers operating in the UK, so although bad things can and do occasionally happen, the system does work and many people are satisfied with the quality of care they receive.
To help you personally assess the quality of home care service you and the person you love receives, we have some tips on what to look for, and how to tell if things are wrong or right.
Talk to your loved one
The person being supported has the most important opinion on the matter. If they are happy with the situation, they like the carers, they believe the work done is of a high enough standard, and most importantly, they feel cared for, you can probably feel reasonably assured, provided you accept their opinion.
If you are worried they may not want to get someone in trouble, or that they might not notice if things weren’t going to plan, there are some other avenues you can check out.
The care plan is a statutory document provided by collaboration between social services, the care company, the health service, and the person being supported and members of their family. The care plan documents all tasks and jobs required to meet the needs of the person being supported, in such a way that will maintain their quality of life, and enable their independence for as long as possible.
By examining the care plan, you will be able to see if the care provider has addressed all aspects of social care required by the person who needs support. If sections of the care plan have not been completed, you must always ask the supervisor or manager why this is. Often there will be a sensible reason, but less often it may be that the care plan has not properly been completed before care commenced.
The Care Quality Commission is the regulator of care providers in England. It does inspect both home care and care home facilities and providers, and the reports from these inspections are published on the CQC’s website. You should check the website every few months to see if new information has been published, and whether or not it might affect you or the person supported.
The CQC provides standards to which all providers must adhere, and you should expect nothing less than these. Check out this link to find out more.
Your home care provider must not tell you what care you will receive. The very first CQC fundamental standard is the importance of person-centred care. Person-centred care means tailoring the care provision around the person’s needs. Because everyone is an individual, this means all care provided will effectively be bespoke. One-size does not fit all.
If you feel your family member has not been provided with adequate choice – a simple example of this is where they are not a morning person, but are expected to get up at 7am everyday to suit the schedule of the carers - you can ask for this to be improved. Busy morning shifts can be tricky to organise, especially when everyone wants to get up at 8am, but if the person being supported prefers to stay up later and get up later in the morning, their wishes should be accommodated as much as possible. Arrangements can always be reviewed after a period of time to ensure they work for everyone involved.
Daily records check
Care workers entering your home will complete a record of everything they done while they visited. How they refer to the person they support is important, and you should read the daily records every so often as a matter of course, to ensure you continue to feel comfortable with the service.
If you notice illegible, inappropriate, or missing entries, you must inform the team’s supervisor or manager, so they can enforce the statutory regulations that are upheld by the CQC.
Good communication is really important when dealing with a home care provider, because unless you and the person being supported state what is needed, the people providing the care will not know.
This means having a good relationship with the team’s manager or supervisor, so you know you can call them if there is a problem, no matter how minor or serious. You can expect that person to be empathetic to the needs of the person being supported, and to find solutions to any problems that have emerged as a result of receiving home care provision.
At Sahan Cares we believe in the importance and social use of home care. It keeps people independently in their own homes for longer, so they are able to continue to access the family and social networks they have built up over the years, and live their lives in a quality way for as long as possible.
If you would like more information about the way we work at Sahan Cares, please call us on 020 8848 1380. You can follow us on Twitter or like our page on Facebook for more information about home care.